Saturday, March 24, 2012

Rasing the Standards for teachers

When are we ever going to have to use that
in elementary school?
You won't even make it that far.
Came across this bit from the Boston Globe, two years ago:

Aspiring teachers fall short on math - Nearly 75 percent fail revamped section of state licensing test."Not all our students are receiving a strong math education." -- Mitchell Chester, Commissioner of elementary and secondary education. By James Vaznis, Globe Staff, May 19, 2009

So, I ask again ... why do we allow people to teach math at any level if they can't pass a high school math test as an adult?

Here's another question, just to annoy the crap out of you as you consider that your child's prospective teacher had trouble with this:

Yeah, it's pseudocontext, contrived, silly, but jeez-louise people, it's easy.

OOOOOH, fractions. Scary.


  1. I honestly don't understand why fractions scare so many people. Seriously, I don't understand. If you can learn that ch makes the "chuh" sound, even though neither c nor h alone comes anything close to that sound, why can't you learn why you need a common denominator to add fractions?

    Seriously, I think people don't care and don't want to care because it's *math*, and math is *hard* and they won't ever need it and...excuses, excuses, excuses.

  2. What infuriates me the most is those I've encountered who seem proud of their ignorance. What motivates someone who is fundamentally incurious to enter learning as a profession? I might as well hire a nudist as a tailor.

    The effects of this are far reaching. When working with polynomials, for example, all one needs is a basic understanding of what multiplication is. If you understand that it is repeated addition, and that an exponent simply represents repeated multiplication, then the rules for exponents are basic common sense - they are easy! If you don't grasp this, then the rules are simply more technical gobbledygook. These are not difficult things if you want to put forth a modicum of effort.

    Many of my students have suffered under many years of willful ignorance before reaching me. Until we start taking elementary mathematics seriously, as some do, this is only going to get worse.